Mid Ohio Comic Con will see the debut of the BONE One Volume Slipcase Edition!
Jeff Smith is an American cartoonist, best known as the creator of the self-published comic book series Bone. His current series, RASL, focuses on an art thief who hops through dimensional barriers, hiding out on various parallel worlds.
Jeff Smith was born in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania and grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where he now lives.
Smith learned about cartooning from comic strips, comic books, and animated television shows. Smith has cited Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts as a very early influence on his understanding of comics He has also named Walt Kelly's Pogo, which he discovered at the age of nine when a classmate brought a collection of the comics to school, as his biggest influence in writing comics. Smith began to create comics with the Bone characters as early as 1970, when he was about 10 years old.
Smith graduated in 1978 from Thomas Worthington High School in Worthington, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, where he was a classmate of Jim Kammerud; later on, in 1986, Smith and Kammerud would co-found Character Builders, an animation studio in Columbus where Smith worked until 1992.
After high school, Smith attended the Ohio State University, and while there he created a comic strip called Thorn for the student newspaper, The Lantern, which included some of the characters who later featured in the Bone series.
Jeff was involved in the short lived revival of The New Sundial, during the beginning of 1986. Four issues were produced and Jeff lent his artwork for the color cover of issue two (Vol 1 No 2 dated March 5, 1986). He also produced a Thorn page for the last three issues of that year.
In 1991, he launched his company, Cartoon Books, in order to publish his comic book series Bone. Smith published 55 issues of Bone between 1991 and 2004, blending influences from artists and writers such as Walt Kelly, Carl Barks, and J.R.R. Tolkien. The black and white comic book proved very successful, and has been collected in a number of trade paperback and hardback collections, including a series of nine books that collect all 55 issues, originally published by Cartoon Books in black and white, and more recently reissued in color by the Graphix imprint of Scholastic. In 2004, when Cartoon Books released a mammoth one-volume black and white collection of the entire nine-volume series, TIME critic Andrew Arnold called Bone the best all-ages graphic novel yet published.
Two additional volumes, Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails and Rose, collect a number of Bone prequel comics created by Smith, working with collaborators.
In 2003, Smith began work for DC Comics on a miniseries starring Captain Marvel, a superhero character Smith is a fan of. The series, entitled Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil, was published in four prestige format issues in 2007, and later collected into a hardcover edition.
In 2007, Fantagraphics Books named Smith as the designer for an upcoming series of books collecting the complete run of Walt Kelly's Pogo. He also designed the cover art for Say Anything's album In Defense of the Genre.
Smith released the first issue of RASL, a stark, sci-fi series about a dimension-jumping art thief with personal problems, in February, 2008. A six page preview was shown on the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con. Originally intending RASL to be released in an over-sized format, Smith consulted with retailers who unanimously cautioned him against the unconventional size. Smith now self-publishes RASL as a standard-sized, ad-free, black and white comic book. The first trade paperback, titled The Drift, is in stores in the originally intended oversized format.
Smith's art was featured in a pair of museum shows in Columbus during summer 2008: Jeff Smith: Bone and Beyond at the Wexner Center for the Arts, and Jeff Smith: Before Bone at the Cartoon Research Library of The Ohio State University. The exhibits were featured in a segment on the PBS news program The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on July 21, 2008.
In 2009, Smith was featured in The Cartoonist, a documentary film on his life and work.
Smith also wrote Little Mouse Gets Ready, a 32-page children's graphic novel aimed at very young emerging readers. This book was released in September 2009 from Toon Books, the children's book line launched by cartoonist Art Spiegelman and New Yorker art editor Franoise Mouly. In a February 2009 Newsarama interview, Smith noted that the book featured another character Smith created in his childhood, a little gray mouse with a little red vest.
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